Friday, December 12, 2008

Role of economics in policy debates

Chris Dillow, referring to the infamous Larry Summers memo on polluting industries, writes on the role of economics and economists

(E)conomics is not a body of hard science that can be applied mechanically to social and economic problems. Nor do economists necessarily possess better judgment or foresight than others. Instead, what economists have are questions, not answers. They can offer arguments based in logic and evidence but which contradict instinct and consensus. They can force people to acknowledge that some moral principles, keeping poor Africans safe, can conflict with others - making them richer. They can force people to think.

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